Little known places in Ukraine include forgotten villages with wooden churches and estates in various stages of ruin, architectural landmarks, towns, fortresses, cathedrals, palaces and more. Ukraine’s cultual and architectural heritage harmoniously compliments her natural beauty in the wild forested Carpathian Mountains, cliff side beaches of Crimea, the southern steppes, the lakes of Polesia etc.
Travels through the western part of Ukraine always have a unique character. The inhabitants of these regions have taken great care throughout the generations to maintain their traditions so interacting with them enriches the visitor with tidbits of information they’d be hard pressed to get elsewhere and a lasting reminder of these peopels’ welcoming nature and hospitality. L’viv, the western capital of Ukraine, should be the first stop on any journey to these parts. Much can be said about L’viv’s history formed in part by its unique geographical location on the divide between the Black Sea and Baltic Sea drainage basins. It is far better, however, to visit and feel this city permeated by the smell the coffee and chocolate, to have a beer and feel the atmosphere on the rainy streets. The path to the incomparable Carpathian Mountains, which draw visitors in all seasons, takes you through L’viv. Whether you vacation at a well-known ski resort or in a house in a quiet mountain village, the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains immerse you in a different and forgotten way of life. Healing mountain springs, crystal clear mountain streams and picturesque valleys offer a wide range of possibilities for the vacationer looking for rest and relaxation to the one seeking extreme adventure. Once you’ve spent time in the Carpathian Mountains they will beckon you to return, to relive these unforgettable moments.
Fortresses have a strong association with Western Ukraine and they take the visitor back to the Middle Ages, impressing with their massive structures. The best known and well-kept are those in Kamyanets-Podil’s’kyy and Khotyn, along with Uzhhorods’kyy and Mukachivs’kyy in Transcarpathia. The more discerning travelers however, can visit the so called golden circle of fortresses in the L’viv region.
The Crimea is a mecca for tourists in Ukraine. We suggest you change your conception of a trip to Crimea with its usual visits to well-known seaside towns. Instead, consider visiting some of the less explored parts of Crimea. In fairness, the popular tourist traps along the southern shores of Crimea have their hidden bits of fascinating history but if you climb the Crimean Mountains you can transport yourself not a hundred but a thousand years back! Caves, monasteries cut out of cliffs and sacred springs will open up a completely different view of Crimea, the one in which our ancient ancestors lived. Of course, to experience this trip to the past it is necessary to hike through some difficult terrain which includes canyons, boulder fields and rivers and to spend the night under the stars which are far closer than they are in the cities. Such extreme vacations are not for everyone.
The novice hiker may feel that there is very little to do in Eastern Ukraine. The more experienced traveler however, knows that beauty and little known gems can be found almost anywhere and in Eastern Ukraine there is plenty that will amaze you. A must see is Sviatohirs’k in the Donetsk region. In this town the Sviatohirs’ka Svyato-Uspens’ka lavra (monastery) is scattered across the chalk hills above the beautiful Siverskyi Donets’ river. Another gem in Eastern Ukraine is the salt mines of Soledar where they offer amazing excursions which take you 300 meters below ground to see the salt deposits, figurines carved out of salt crystals and even play football on a salt field!
The Regions of Ukraine
The region of Podolia, Podilia or Podillya is famous for its deep and narrow river valleys, historical heritage, caves and castles. This region is less known between wild-nature lovers, but it is still to be discovered in the future. This one of the best destinations in Ukraine. Podolia rafting tour could be combined with horseback riding.
Polesia, Polissya, Palyes'sye, Poles'ye , or Polesie is one of the largest European swampy areas. Napoleon and Hitler’s military campaigns were planned in a way to avoid this area. Polesia was perfect cover for gorilla forces during the Second World War. Vast swamps of Pripyat River and its tributaries, pine and birch forests, fairytale lakes and endless canebrake makes polesia perfect destination for the flat-water rafting tours combine with camping, relaxation, meditation, yoga etc.
Ukrainian Carpathians are one of the wildest mountains in Europe. Mostly covered with forests, almost with no national parks and marked roads, Carpathians are the perfect destination for the white-water rafting tours combined with other outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking etc.
Transcarpathian Region is known for its warm climate volcanic mountains, castles, resorts and wonderful wide nature. Transcarpathian Region is a multicultural region – Ukrainians, Rusins, Hungarian, Romanians and Roma live here together. Transcarpathian Region is a perfect destination to combine either a white-water rafting tour or a flat-water rafting tour with such activities as climbing and hiking.
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